A Prince William County public school is mourning the loss of a woman who worked as a custodian there for decades after she died Sunday of COVID-19 complications. Her family's tragedy multiplied just a few days later, when her daughter also passed away after fighting the virus.
Dinora Mejia died after battling the coronavirus for several weeks. She worked as a custodian for 20 years at Potomac View Elementary School in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Relatives say she last reported to work Dec. 8 and was diagnosed with the virus a few days later.
"She told me that she was going to quarantine at her home," Remy Perez, a friend of Mejia, said. “We asked her to take care of herself. I asked her to take care of herself. And then later she told me that she was going to the hospital."
Mejia's health rapidly deteriorated. Her oldest daughter, Claudia, also tested positive for the virus.
"Unfortunately, she called me about January 5 and told me that she couldn't take it anymore and that she loved me, that she thought of me and that she might not survive this," Perez said. She described her friend as "a very generous coworker, very humble, but at the same time with a strong heart.”
Mejia died on Jan. 10. Only three days later, Claudia also passed away.
Latiesa Green, the principal of the elementary school where Mejia worked, said that the school was working on a tribute for her, and that she also felt the loss.
“We are going to dedicate our garden to her. It’s a way to honor Dinora’s memory. We will do that in the spring,” Green said.
Mejia arrived in the U.S. from El Salvador in the 1970s. Her youngest daughter told News4's sister station Telemundo 44 that her mother and sister were "incredible people," who cared for others with all their hearts and helped those in need.